School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 3

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 6. Determine important ideas and messages in literary texts

Objective a. Identify and explain main ideas and universal themes


The teacher will place students in small groups and provide them with a literary text. After reading the text, students will be given envelopes which contain sentence strips. The sentence strips will list the main idea of the literary text, supporting details for that main idea, and details that do not support the main idea. The group of students must isolate the main idea and its supporting details from the available materials. Students will share their answers with other class members.


After students have read a required literary text, they will discuss the passage. During class discussion, the teacher will record the important ideas in the passage and ask students to give him/her supporting details for those important ideas. When the discussion is concluded, the teacher will place the students in small groups. Each group will be asked to create an alternate title for the passage and then present it to the rest of the class. During the presentation students will show how their title reflects an important idea in the passage.


Prior to reading, students will be asked to share times when someone did something kind for them or they were kind to another. The teacher will state that kindness is often a topic for themes in literary works. Students will then read Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree" or a like-themed literary passage. While students read these passages they should record the ways in which kindness is shown in these texts. After reading, students should share with the entire class the evidences of kindness they found. Next, with teacher assistance, students should form a theme statement for the text. Following this, the teacher should place students into small groups giving each group a text which they must read and analyze to complete the following chart.

Title Theme Topic Supporting Details for Theme Theme Statement Application to Real Life Situations

As texts are passed from one group to another, each text should be entered on the chart. Once all groups have seen all the texts, students will share their responses with the other members of the class.


As students read a novel or any longer literary work, they will track the development of theme. When appropriate at certain stages in the novel, teacher and students will isolate theme topics and will develop theme statements. In small groups or as an entire class with teacher direction, students will trace the beginning of the theme to its conclusion. Students will identify the origin of the theme. Did it begin with character, setting, or conflict or a combination of elements? Teacher Note: A suggested way for students to see the interrelatedness of narrative elements is to map the novel's plot and then alongside plot the origin and development of the theme/s. Once students have completed tracking the theme, in a class or small group discussion they should apply the theme to real-life situations.

Resources for Objective 3.A.6.a:
LESSON SEEDS | Sample Assessments | Public Release Items | Advanced/G-T |